Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=832627
 
 

References (43)



 


 



The Parable of the Hare and the Tortoise: Small Worlds, Diversity, and System Performance


David Lazer


Northeastern University - Department of Political Science; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Allan Friedman


Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

October 2005

KSG Working Paper No. RWP05-058

Abstract:     
Whether as team members brainstorming, or cultures experimenting with new technologies, problem solvers communicate and share ideas. This paper examines how the structure of these communication networks can affect system-level performance. We present an agent-based model of information sharing, where the less successful emulate the more successful. Results suggest that where agents are dealing with a complex problem, the more efficient the network at disseminating information, and the higher the velocity of information over that network, the better the short run and lower the long run performance of the system. The dynamic underlying this result is that an inefficient network is better at exploration than an efficient network, supporting a more thorough search for solutions in the long run. This suggests that the efficient network is the hare - the fast starter - and the poorly connected network is the tortoise - slow at the start of the race, but ultimately triumphant.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Keywords: Advocacy and Persuasion, Information Technology, Public Management, Science¸ Technology and Public Policy

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Date posted: November 10, 2005  

Suggested Citation

Lazer, David and Friedman, Allan, The Parable of the Hare and the Tortoise: Small Worlds, Diversity, and System Performance (October 2005). KSG Working Paper No. RWP05-058. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=832627 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.832627

Contact Information

David Lazer (Contact Author)
Northeastern University - Department of Political Science ( email )
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-2796 (Phone)
617-373-5311 (Fax)
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Taubman Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-0102 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.davidlazer.com
Allan Friedman
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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